Buses, buses, buses


I feel like I’m stuck in an infinite loop of Asia’s buses and mini-buses. Every day seems to entail another journey and they are always either 4 hours or 8 hours long.

We left Yogyakarta in a small mini-bus, transferred to a larger bus, drove 8 hours and got off at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere.

After standing around for 20 minutes, we piled into another couple of mini-buses and drove for another few hours.

As you can imagine it was a thrilling day.

Our destination was Seloliman, and the the PPLH ecological village project.

This consisted of bungalows, with bathrooms and ceilings open to the elements. A hell of a lot of bugs and insects, and a large herb garden.

If I hadn’t been travelling for the best part of twelve hours, I probably would have loved it. But at this point of my adventure, I’m dreaming of a king-sized bed, air-con that actually works, a shower that has controllable heat and enough power to leave you feeling clean (I’ve discovered that showers here tend to offer one or the other).

So a night under nets, without even a fan was pretty much the last thing I wanted.

In fairness its not a bad place, but I really couldn’t wait to get out of there.

A tour of the facilities was organised for the next morning, but I opted to skip this in favour of getting some sleep. Of course this is easier said than done when sunlight begins to stream through the window at 5am.

Then it was back into the mini-buses and yet another long journey this time heading to the spectacular landscape of Tengger Valley.

Here the terrain was so steep that we had to turn of the air-conditioning in the van to maximise engine power. We drove up steeper and steeper terrain until we eventually reached our hostel for, well… part of the night.

A 3am wake up call was issued, and we dragged ourselves into Toyota Land Cruisers and drove up to Mount Bromo.

This I will write about in a separate entry, but for now I will just say that looking out at an active volcano at sunrise, really is all that it is cracked up to be.

We returned to the hostel at around 8:30 for breakfast before leaving at 10:00 and you’ve guessed it, another massive drive, finally arriving in Kalibaru at around 5pm.

I’ve formulated a theory on my travels and I present it here in all its glory.

Blakely’s Law “The fancier the reception and lobby area of a hotel; the plainer the rooms will be”.

The law is holding true here. The lobby is filled with orniment, paintings, carvings and sofas. The room is large, contains a single bed, a plain wooden table and bare white walls, a white ceiling & fan and a white tiled floor.

It feels as welcoming as a kick in the nuts.

Tomorrow its yet another 8am start… Quite why we leave at 8am every time is a mystery. We do fuck all when we arrive anyway, so the purpose of the early start is a puzzler.

We leave, and have yet another big drive – although this time we stop for a walk around (joy of joys) a plantation. Great, haven’t seen one of those for at least two days. But the boredom will at least be broken by the ferry crossing into Bali.

As a tour this one hasn’t been the best. I like the country, and the landscape is amazing. But we’re doing so much driving that it just isn’t fun any more. At least in China we travelled a lot overnight so we’d actually have time to, well, see the country we’ve come to visit.

Chiang Mai is glowing brighter with each passing day. The prospect of breaking the bus, hotel, plantation, bus chain is thrilling.

The prospect of actually relaxing is even more thrilling. 

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